Thursday, October 11, 2018

September/October

  This fall has been beautiful. The days have been remarkably warm and summer like. We have been enjoying spending as much time outside as we can, hence my absence from my blog. : ) 

The month of September was lovely! We enjoyed the bounty of our garden, which was our best harvest since living here. Adam's berry bushes really took off this year. In the picture above is just some of the elderberries he collected this fall! We have frozen the berries and look forward to making elderberry pies in the near future. Adam's blackberries, red raspberries and red currants did equally well. We have been enjoying delicious pies and jams with even greater pleasure since the fruit came from our own garden.
 This is just one day of my canning efforts. Like previous years I canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, soups, zucchini, pickles and several jams. If interested in any of the recipes I used, I included links in this post. In addition to canning I froze some baked goods this year. We had such an abundance of zucchini I decided to make a variety of zucchini breads and our favorite zucchini cookies to freeze. Already we have enjoyed baking a few cookies or a mini loaf of zucchini bread on a rainy weekend.
 Last month we celebrated Jemimah's fourth birthday! She is such a sweet little girl and a wonderful friend. We officially began homeschooling last month. Last year we did some Pre-K work with work books I picked up at the store. This year we are using this curriculum, that I saw recommended here. We are enjoying the curriculum and Jemimah looks forward to school time each morning.
 With the return of cooler weather I have resumed my habit of making a weekly batch of soup. Some may remember one of my favorite recipes that I shared quite a while back, stuffed pepper soup. Recently my mom had the brilliant idea of making cabbage roll soup, in much the same way we made our stuffed pepper soup. It is delicious, and I may like it even better than the stuffed pepper soup!
 For those who may like to try to make some themselves, here is the recipe.

Cabbage Roll Soup
  • 1 cup rice (prepare with water amount recommended)* 
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4-5 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 1 can (14 ounces) beef broth
Directions:
Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the shredded cabbage, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes and broth. Simmer until cabbage is fully cooked and tender. Add prepared rice; heat through.
*In my last batch I omitted the rice and added extra cabbage, it was still delicious! 
 Throughout the summer months I did very little knitting or crocheting due to the heat, but I did manage to finally complete my socks in time for the cooler weather. : ) I am so pleased with the finished results! I have begun to knit a pair of socks for Jemimah, and I suspect that they will take a lot less time, considering the size difference.
This week I have enjoyed collecting some of my scrap fabric to create a Dresden plate design for a pillow cover. I made a similar pillow cover last year, and I have wanted to make another for the other rocking chair in our living room.
 Here is a picture of the pillow I made last year, to give you an idea of how the pillow will look when finished. The design is fairly simple to sew together and I love to see so many beloved calico scraps being put to a good use.
 Speaking of fabric.... when we were out the other weekend I discovered that one of my favorite fabric shops was having a sale. I couldn't resist purchasing a couple of my favorites with aprons in mind.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/644104799/autumnal-green-hanging-dish-towel-fall?ref=shop_home_active_11
Recently I added a few "autumnal themed" items to my Etsy shop.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/645319165/burgundy-calico-1940s-calico-apron-ready?ref=shop_home_active_5
 And of course a few new aprons!
 And to close this post I'd like to introduce our kitten Miranda. We adopted Miranda back in June and she is truly a joy! Jemimah loves her dearly, as do Adam and I. We named Miranda after one of my favorite Grace Livingston Hill characters, and she certainly is living up to her namesake's reputation for being mischievous but loving!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; 
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Little Book of Thanks- Review

It happens every autumn. As soon as the leaves begin to turn bright, beautiful colors, the year sprints ahead on fast-forward! Take a few moments out of the hustle and bustle of the season to sink into a cozy chair with your little one and thank God for everything He’s given us with Precious Moments® Little Book of Thanks.
In the sweet, enduring art style of Precious Moments, this timeless book will help your children recognize all the wonderful things God has given them! Read along, and you will remember to enjoy the simple things, like singing silly songs, jumping in a pile of leaves, and watching the seasons change. The short, rhyming verses in this classic Precious Moments book don’t take much time to read at all, and they will create memories that last forever.
Precious Moments Little Book of Thanks offers you the chance to be thankful for all that you have and for the ones with whom you get to share every precious moment.
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Little Book of Thanks
By Jean Fisher

We have a couple of other seasonal Precious Moments books, so when I saw Little Book of Thanks I knew it would be the perfect addition to collection! 

Little Book of Thanks is a sturdy board book filled with charming illustrations of Precious Moments characters celebrating the simple things of life. Each page features a prayer of thanksgiving. The topics vary from family, to God's creativity in creating us, thanksgiving for laughter, healthy food- just to name a few. The prayer is then followed by a poem and Scripture verse. I was pleased to see lines from some classic autumnal poems included too.

It seems that Thanksgiving is often over looked, especially when it comes to children's books. Therefore I am pleased to have Little Book of Thanks to share with my daughter. It is a wonderful reminder to be grateful for all the many blessing God gives us each and every day, including something so simple as laughter!

The combination of the illustrations, prayers, poems and Scripture make it a special treasure that I am sure we will look forward to revisiting every autumn.

*I received a complimentary copy of Little Book of Thanks from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

God's Blessings Day by Day -Review

God’s Blessing Day by Day is a trustworthy devotional compiled by renowned pastors and church leaders. Edited by Johnny Hunt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, this devotional is the perfect way to introduce your children and grandchildren to a legacy of faith.
One of the greatest gifts - and greatest challenges - of raising children is introducing them to the ways of God. As parents and grandparents, we want to impart our faith to the children we love so dearly, and it can feel more difficult than ever in the fast-moving, instant-access culture in which we find ourselves.
God’s Blessing Day by Day,compiled by Johnny Hunt and more than 50 pastors and church leaders, is the perfect way to build faith through gratitude.
This easy-to-understand, child-friendly devotional is the perfect way to engage your family. Each devotion is written on topics children care about and includes great prayers and takeaways that will spark conversation as the timeless Word of God instructs and inspires your children.
Impart a deeper connection with the Lord in your children, help them establish healthy habits of devotion and prayer, and equip them with the tools they need to grow their faith.
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God's Blessings Day by Day
By Johnny Hunt

Growing up I remember my mom sharing with me the importance of time spent daily in Bible reading and devotions. As a little girl my mom gave me a set of devotionals, one for each month of the year. I read and re-read them throughout my childhood. This helped me begin a life long habit of seeking God at the start of each and every day. I am grateful for this lesson my mom taught me at a young age, and I am hoping to share this lesson with my daughter too!

God's Blessings Day by Day is a wonderful way to introduce the idea of daily devotions to your children. Each devotion includes a verse for the day, an easy to understand illustration of how the verse may apply to the child's life and a short prayer for the day. There are six devotions per week, one per weekday and one per weekend. The weeks are numbered and the book may be started at any time of the year. The book includes a ribbon bookmark, which is very helpful for keeping your place.

One feature of the book my daughter has especially enjoyed are the adorable illustrations of animals throughout the book. They are truly precious. God's Blessings Day by Day is hard cover and of excellent quality. It would make a beautiful gift for children of varying ages. It is easy enough for toddlers to understand, but would be perfect for older children to read to themselves.

I am grateful to have this devotional to share with my daughter. Many times after reading one of the devotions she has asked me a question regarding what we read, which has been a great way to start a conversation about God's truths and how they apply to her life.

*I received a complimentary copy of God's Blessings Day by Day from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Zucchuni Cookies

This year we have been blessed with an abundance of zucchini. It has been fun to look through favorite old recipes and create a variety of meals and desserts using this highly nutritious vegetable. In previous years I have shared a couple of family favorites: zucchini pancakes and zucchini tomato casserole.
A long time favorite recipe has been the zucchini cookie recipe from The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook. The flavor of the spices mixed with raisins make for a satisfying and old-fashioned cookie. Also, these cookies are delightfully moist due to the zucchini.
Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup raw zucchini, skinned and grated (I never peel my zucchini)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. baking soda
Nuts or raisins

Cream butter, honey, egg, and vanilla together. Stir in zucchini. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts or raisins. Bake as drop cookies on greased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Some new recipes we have enjoyed this year are: Parmesan Zucchini, Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Last week I made zucchini corn chowder, which was simple and delicious.

Isn't it amazing how many wonderful recipes can be created with zucchini? Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes you make year after year? I would love to know as I still have zucchinis growing in our garden and a basket of them in my kitchen. : )

Saturday, June 30, 2018

God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers -Review

Find peace in your bedtime routine.
Do you long for your children to grow close with God? Join the adorable animal families as they learn to pray about every moment of the day—the fun times, the hard parts, and everything in between.
Whether the animals ask God for help finding a toy or thank Him for the day’s adventures, God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers will create a special, quiet bedtime routine of prayer and will instill God’s Word in your children’s hearts.
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God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers
Written by: Hannah C. Hall
Illustrated by: Steve Whitlow



God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers is truly a beautiful way to end your little one's day. The peaceful rhythm of each prayer is helpful in calming a child and a lovely way to encourage them in their bedtime prayers.

Each page illustrates a different animal family and a special experience from their day. One illustration pictures a bear family enjoying ice cream in the park, the prayer to accompany this page is one of thanksgiving followed by "Always be thankful" Colossians 3:15. Another page shows a little bunny searching for his teddy bear before bed, the prayer is a request of help and is followed by "Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7. What a beautiful reminder that we can take all of our concerns to the Lord, even the smallest one.

Each illustration is precious. The soft coloring and variety of animal families really attracted my daughter's attention. When the book arrived she was very excited to read it with me. I loved how the book presented so many different ideas of prayers to children, and that each prayer was followed by a scripture. There are prayers of thanksgiving, concern for a sibling's health, fear, confession of not sharing with a friend and a desire to help others. All wonderful lessons for children!

My daughter is 3 1/2 and really enjoyed God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers however younger children would find this book enjoyable too since the pages are short. It is a board book which is perfect for little ones who have yet to learn the importance of treating books with special care. : )

I would definitely recommend this book!

*I received a complimentary copy of God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*

Monday, June 11, 2018

Clothes Pin Bags, Aprons and Laundry Day Inspiration

https://www.etsy.com/shop/lilacsinspring?section_id=11996472
Once spring arrives I am always excited to hang laundry outside to dry on my clothesline again. There is something absolutely wonderful about wearing a garment that smells of fresh air and sunshine!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/606503746/floral-clothes-pin-bag-ready-to-ship?ref=shop_home_active_1
 I have found my clothes pin bag to be a very handy accessory. In the past I would sometimes be guilty of leaving clothes pins on the line. Over time the clothes pins would become discolored and the springs could become rusty. But with a clothes pins bag it is so easy to collect my clothes pins up at the end of the day.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/620338107/turquoise-clothes-pin-bag-ready-to-ship?ref=shop_home_active_4
Over the past two years I have enjoyed making my own homemade laundry detergent. I found this recipe on Pinterest and really like how quickly a batch can be made. I always add lavender essential oil to my detergent.

Homemade Laundry Detergent:
  • An empty  1/2 gallon old detergent jug or 1/2 gallon canning jar
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
Combine ingredients in 1/2 gallon container, fill container with hot water. Shake to combine. Gently shake before each use. Use 1/4- 1/3 cup per load.

Another laundry favorite is this stain remover recipe.

Use 2 parts peroxide and 1 part blue Dawn and baking soda. I usually use 1/2 cup peroxide, 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap and 1/4 cup baking soda. Apply to stain remover prior to washing.
 
I shared this some time ago, but thought it would be a nice addition to this post....

Old Recipe
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Years ago a Kentucky grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe for washing clothes. It appears below just as it was written, and despite the spelling, has a bit of philosophy. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrap book (with spelling errors and all).
1.Bilt a fir in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. 2.Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. 3.Shave one hole cake of lie soap in bilin water. 4.Sort things make 3 piles. 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags. 5.To make startch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with bilin water. 6.Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and then bile. Rub colored don’t bile, just rinch and starch. 7. Take things out of kettle with broomstick handle, then rinch, and starch. 8.Hang old rags on fence. 9.Spread tea towels on the grass. 10. pore rinch water in the flower beds. 11. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. 12.Turn tubs upside down. 13.Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
***Paste this over our washer and dryer and next time when you think things are bleak, read it again and give thanks for your blessings!
 
The clothes pin bags featured in this post are for sale in my Etsy shop. I have also added some pretty new aprons too.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/606501930/navy-calico-1940s-wrap-apron-ready-to?ref=shop_home_active_3

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Springtime Dresses

Earlier this spring I sewed some new dresses for my daughter, Jemimah. I love to sew, but sewing something for my little girl brings me the greatest pleasure! In the photo above is a jumper/sundress, which has been Jemimah's favorite new dress this spring. She selected the fabric herself, in spite of my efforts to talk her into a similar fabric in lavender. Pink is her favorite color and she reminds me of this fact often.
I think another reason this jumper is a favorite are the pockets! I had fun designing these pockets. They are simple rounded pocket cut out taller than usual, so that the extra fabric can be folded down to create a casing for elastic. Jemimah loves pockets! She carries her little treasures with her in these pockets; flowers, bows and her little Thomas trains. : )

My mom and I are offering this jumper/sundress on our Etsy page here. It can be custom sewn in a variety of pretty cotton calicos.
 Another favorite has been this sweet little rose print dress, because it is also pink! This is one of my favorite dress styles due to it's simplicity. I sewed this dress style with a collar and long sleeves last fall.
I used Robert Kauffman fabric that I had purchased from fabric.com for this dress, and the dress below. I was very pleased with this line of fabric, it was hard to choose just two from the collection.
I especially enjoyed sewing this dress! It was Jemimah's Easter dress this year. I love the soft lavender floral pattern.
It was fun to select the different trims and ribbon to make this dress special. She looks so sweet and old-fashioned wearing this dress.

Since taking these pictures I have sewn a few other garments for Jemimah's spring/summer wardrobe. I am so grateful and blessed to be able to sew most of my daughter's clothes. It is also a joy to see her pleased with the what I have made. I remember the excitement I felt helping my mom choose fabric for my dresses when I was a girl, and then the feeling of trying on my new dress for the first time! All of the dresses my mom made with such love are special memories to me.

I hope you are enjoying a pleasant start to your week. Do you have any special sewing projects this week?